A Spring Hill man is facing a murder charge after he and another man who was found hanging from a backyard tree, allegedly killed an acquaintance at a residence on Elkin Avenue in Spring Hill.
Michael Terry, Deputy Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said that jut before 7 p.m. on Jan. 15, deputies conducted a wellness check on 54-year-old William Scott Trudell in response from a 911 call from relatives reporting that Dakota Lee Croft had possibly killed him.
At the scene, Dustin McMillan, 33, locked the front door to keep deputies from entering the residence. When he eventually did allow them inside, McMillan told them that Croft was not at home.
Meanwhile, another deputy walked into the backyard of the home and found the 24-year-old Croft hanging from a tree dead.
During a search of the area surrounding the residence deputies found Trudell’s body lying on the ground in a nearby wooded lot. They also found drag marks from the side garage door of the residence to where Trudell’s body was found.
When questioned, McMillan told deputies that he and Croft had been drinking and that the pair had concocted a plan to attack Trudell because Croft was upset that he was a “Cop Caller” who disrespected women in the home.
According to McMillan, he and Croft ambushed and killed Trudell when he entered the home’s garage. Shortly thereafter, a family member had walked into the garage, saw Trudell’s body lying on the floor and immediately left the residence.
McMillan and Croft then dragged Trudell’s lifeless body to a wooded area nearby and proceeded to clean up the garage and dispose of any evidence connected to the killing.
Upon further investigation, deputies discovered an ankle monitoring device in the back yard that Croft, who was under the supervision of the Florida Department of Corrections had removed.
“Detectives believe it was shortly after both men attempted to clean-up the garage that Croft hanged himself,” Terry said.
Deputies arrested McMillan and charged him with first-degree murder and evidence tampering.
He is being held at the Hernando County Detention Center without bond.